Clean all the snow off your vehicle

Another Canadian winter storm, another generous helping of snow – that means a whole lot of time you’ll have to spend brushing the snow off your vehicle.

It is tempting to just clear the windshield, but it is very important to get all the white-stuff off your ride before you venture out for a drive. Not removing all the snow poses a safety hazard to you, your passengers and other road users.

For example, if your headlights and taillights aren’t cleaned off, you may not be easily visible to other drivers. That increases your risk of being in a collision.

Not clearing your back window renders the rear-view mirror useless and creates a massive blind-spot.

What about that snow on your vehicle’s roof that is hard to reach? It can become dangerous too if, as you are driving along, the motion of driving and the heat from the inside of the vehicle causes it to loosen and slide down onto your windshield.

Even if you are able to react quickly by turning on your wiper blades, thick and heavy snow does not clear easily or quickly. If the snow is heavy enough, your wiper blades may not be able to move at all, creating a lapse in visibility that can have dangerous and deadly implications.

Instead, reconcile with the reality that part of staying safe through a Canadian winter is properly preparing before you leave your parking spot.

So what’s the best (and fastest) way to clean off the snow? Start by protecting yourself from the elements, dressing in warm layers and wearing waterproof snow boots and gloves.

Check that your vehicle’s tailpipe isn’t blocked by snow. If it is, clear the snow, and then start the engine to warm it up. Turn the defroster and fans on to max.

Once you’re outside the vehicle again, start from the top and work your way down. An SUV or van may require the use of an expandable snowbrush or scraper to pull the snow from the roof. Taking one side at a time, work your way around the vehicle until the roof is clear.

Then clear snow away from the windshield, back window, side windows, mirrors, lights, doors and around the license plate. Also consider carrying a short-handed snowbrush to give you another tool and a handy means of clearing snow from the lights and mirrors.

Be sure to clean around the wiper blades and windshield washer nozzles, and test the wipers before you put your ride in drive.

Do your best to shovel the snow away from the tires and clear a path so you can get out of your parking spot without getting stuck.

For more information on safe driving, visit Drive safe!


For more information, please contact:

Catherine Benesch

Communications/Media Program Coordinator, Canada Safety Council

(613) 739-1535 (ext. 228)